When you walk into Starbucks, you enter with the expectation that you will leave with the drink you want. In fact, there is probably no drink they can’t make. Finally, you’ll know the grande coconut milk latte with stevia and two shots of espresso is yours because it has your name scribbled in black Sharpie on the side of the cup. Starbucks has mastered—and capitalized on—the personalized customer experience.
Whether you are a startup or a veteran in your industry, there is much to be gained by providing a personalized customer experience. Here is how you can make sure you are keeping your customer at the forefront of your mind as you are operating your business.
Wooing Your Customers
Now, mentioning Starbucks might not strike the right chord with small businesses, initially, anyway. After all, they are arguably the most well-recognized coffee giant, and they are certainly the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. So, what could Starbucks and your small business have in common? Well, Starbucks wasn’t born a giant. The company started out as a tiny seed, and with careful watering by means of a personalized customer experience, the owners grew an impressive enterprise.
That watering was the wooing of customers, so to speak. The owners of Starbucks were mindful of delivering a personalized customer experience to their clientele. From promotions like “Tweet-a-coffee,” to marketing maneuvers like “My Starbucks Idea,” Starbucks has continued to build rapport with customers. Creating an atmosphere focusing on a personalized customer experience was something that Starbucks has excelled at, and when it comes to wooing, few companies do it better. There is no question customers know Starbucks is listening.
Who Should Woo
You may be thinking that this sounds more like something for the marketing or sales departments, and you’d be partially right. However, the most important thing to remember is that every department within your company is interconnected—customer care, marketing, and sales included. Therefore, be careful of excluding any department from your plans for a personalized customer experience.
Think about it this way: from the moment your company approaches or encounters a prospect, that prospect is keenly aware of whether you are interested in their business and value what they have. If you do not embody a personalized customer experience, the prospect may decide to take their business elsewhere. Worse, if they become a client because of how well you initially woo them, and then they don’t feel a personalized customer experience in all aspects of your business, they could leave you, and leave you with a bad reputation on top of it.
Ways to Woo
At this point, you are probably wondering how you can begin wooing your prospects and clients. After all, that might require a different approach than you’ve been using. Perhaps you’ve been out of the game for a while. Or, perhaps your normal MO is playing hard to get, which is basically the opposite of providing a personalized customer experience. Whatever reason for changing your focus, don’t delay. There is no time like today to begin embodying a personalized customer experience.
So, here are some specific ways you can woo your customers with a personalized customer experience:
Woo them by Remembering the Details
First, it may seem like a small thing, but when you meet a new prospect, take notes during your initial conversation. Remember key details about the prospect’s business, and their life, if they share it with you. Creating a personalized customer experience starts with the very first impression.
Onboarding Done Right
Second, if you are lucky enough to earn someone’s business, treat the relationship that way. Avoid projecting the attitude that the onboarding process will be lengthy or that there may be errors because you have SO many clients. Giving new accounts a personalized customer experience during the onboarding process will show them that you are grateful they chose you as a business partner.
Dedicated Customer Care Specialist
Third, there is nothing worse than calling or emailing your bank and speaking to a different person each time. You have to explain your issue repeatedly, and each time someone along the way gets the details wrong. Eliminate that problem by providing a personalized customer experience with a dedicated customer care specialist for each customer. Also, remember to have the same backup whenever the dedicated customer care specialist must be out of the office for vacation, etc.
Woo them with Thoughtful Upselling
Finally, upselling ancillary products is a part of many business models. A company’s bread and butter product or service, so to speak, is what draws clients in. After that, the ancillary products can help retain clients. Still, you should never upsell willy-nilly. Take a personalized customer experience approach to upselling by only suggesting products that are a good fit for your client. You would never want your clients to feel like you are simply trying to wring every dollar out of them. Instead, find out their actual pain points, and then try to alleviate them.
Hopefully you noticed that this list delivers a personalized customer experience to your clientele from all departments within your company.
Personalized Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus
Another important thing to mention is that business is different since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, your focus on delivering a personalized customer experience shouldn’t waver. If anything, you can get creative finding ways to deliver an even better personalized customer experience. But how?
Well, you can start by being intentional about asking clients how they and their families are doing. Then, use your company’s philanthropic efforts in ways that benefit the trends you see happening with your clients. For example, my hair stylist, who normally donates to childhood cancer research, decided to branch out and donate to support families who suffer from sickle cell anemia. She learned about its impact in the Black community after asking how her clients were doing amid coronavirus struggles. Through deeper discussion, she learned more about the prevalence of sickle cell anemia. This goes to show how caring about your clients and listening to their needs can result in a personalized customer experience.
Personalized Customer Experience, Starbucks or Otherwise
While your business goals might not include becoming the next Starbucks, there are many things they have done right. Focusing on a personalized customer experience for their clients is something they do well. Furthermore, they don’t just try to get customers in the door once; Starbucks focuses on bringing customers back. They know how to woo customers, how to keep customers, and how to be there for customers during their time of need.
So, even if you are like me and you don’t prefer drinking Starbucks coffee, hopefully you can appreciate that they truly embody the personalized customer experience. Now, keep this in mind as you are learning how you can also deliver a personalized customer experience with your business.